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Michigan Jail Wrongful Death Suit Settles for $500,000

by Christopher Zoukis

A federal lawsuit filed by the widow of a man who died after a violent cell extraction at the Midland County jail in Michigan has settled for $500,000. The Midland Daily News reported the settlement was reached following mediation.

Jack Brian Marden was arrested on February 4, 2015 on a felony warrant stemming from a three-week-old incident in which he overdosed on Valium, walked around his house with a knife and asked responding officers to shoot him. The incident ended with his brief hospitalization for a psychiatric evaluation.

Marden was held in the intake area of the Midland County jail from February 4 to 11, 2015 on charges of aggravated assault. According to his widow’s suit, he was removed from his cell on February 11 for an interview with mental health staff. During the interview he became agitated; he was then returned to his cell while telling guards that people were trying to hurt him and the French government was confiscating his money. Jailers ultimately forced Marden into his cell after he displayed “superhuman strength” and grabbed Lieutenant Jeffery Derocher’s radio. As he was carried into the cell, Marden repeatedly yelled “help, help, help” and “emergency, emergency, emergency” into the radio.

Once back in his cell, Marden stripped and began rubbing fecal matter on himself. Captain Rich Harnois called for a CERT team extraction, ostensibly so Marden could be taken to Community Mental Health Services for a psychiatric evaluation.

As is the case with most cell extractions, extreme violence ensued. The lawsuit alleged that when guards Richard Speich, Brian Keidel, Bryan Kryzanowicz, Joshua Michael Saylor and Lt. Derocher charged into the cell, Marden threw his jumpsuit and blanket at them. They proceeded to take Marden down, and applied pressure points to his head and neck.

During the melee, Marden managed to get Derocher’s radio again and used it to shout for help. Marden also grabbed Derocher’s testicles, as he was not wearing CERT team protective gear. As Marden “held” the testicles, Derocher began beating him on the head.

The guards eventually subdued Marden, who said “I can’t breathe” several times. After a spit mask was placed on his head and he was strapped into a restraint chair, Lt. Derocher proceeded to pummel Marden, who ultimately lost consciousness. He died a few hours later as a result of acute respiratory failure due to a severe anoxic brain injury secondary to cardiac arrest.

Marden’s widow, represented by attorneys Jules B. Olsman and Randy J. Wallace with the law firm of Olsman Mackenzie & Wallace, filed suit against Midland County and all of the guards involved in the cell extraction. She accused the defendants of civil rights violations, constitutional violations, assault and battery, and wrongful death.

The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants in March 2017, and Marden’s widow appealed to the Sixth Circuit. The settlement for $500,000 was reached in September 2017 while the appeal was pending. See: Marden v. County of Midland, U.S.D.C. (E.D. Mich.), Case No. 1:15-cv-14504-TLL-PTM. 

Additional sources: Midland Daily News,


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Related legal case

Marden v. County of Midland